SAN MATEO, Calif., Sept. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- In light of the Equifax data breach, consumers are rushing to place credit freezes on their credit reports. But this may not provide the protection they expect warns credit expert and Nav.com education director Gerri Detweiler. Nav is the first and only site that allows small business owners to check and monitor personal and business credit scores in one dashboard. "Consumers want to protect themselves," she says, "but a security freeze won't bulletproof your credit or your finances."
A credit freeze prevents a company without an existing relationship with a consumer from accessing credit information until the consumer "lifts" the freeze by verifying their information and providing a PIN or password.
There are some downsides to placing a freeze, including:
Cost. Fees of $5 - $10 to place and lift freezes can add up. Equifax has extended free security freezes for one year, but it does not cover the other major credit reporting agencies, Experian and TransUnion. (Some state laws limit these fees and id theft victims get freezes for free.)
Hassle. Credit information isn't just used for loans. Cell phone, utility and internet providers as well as insurance companies often check credit before opening new accounts.
False Sense of Security. A credit freeze only limits future access to credit data from the bureau where the freeze has been placed. Data that is already leaked can't be locked down after the effect. That data may be used for phishing attempts, medical or taxpayer id theft or other types of fraud. Additionally, consumer credit freezes may not protect against business identity theft.
"You have to be vigilant and carefully monitor your accounts, even with a freeze in place," warns Detweiler. "A credit freeze doesn't mean you can set it and forget it."
Indeed, Detweiler was the victim of identity theft recently. She chose to place fraud alerts on her credit reports and forgo credit freezes.
Gerri Detweiler has been interviewed in more than 3000 news interviews and is the author of five books about credit. She is available for interviews to discuss the implications for consumers and steps they can take to protect themselves.
Nav.com helps business owners get more funding, lower their costs and save time so they can create the business of their dreams. It gives free access to both business and personal credit reports, tools to help build business credit and a marketplace with more than 100 financing products. Its marketplace uses a lender-neutral algorithm to help business owners find the best financing options for their needs before they apply. The company has offices in Silicon Valley and Salt Lake City. For more information visit: nav.com
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